REVIEW: SODOM – “Genesis XIX”
I have an unpopular opinion about Sodom and the Teutonic Big Four in general: the thrash panzer led by Onkel Tom Angelripper are the only ones from the quartet that never slipped or released a bad album. Since the brutal and seminal ‘Obsessed by Cruelty’ (1986), Sodom’s discography is one to envy, and ‘Genesis XIX’ continues their path of destruction and no-frills old-school thrash metal.
Being the early stages of satanic themes that flirted with death and speed metal, or the “new” war-like atmosphere and lyrics, Sodom have never disappointed. Like I said above, the new album does not deviate from the band’s journey of cleaning the house and remaining one of the most relevant and worshipped acts out there. Also, fans were eager to see Frank Blackfire’s performance again, which is an event of its own. While the riffs and overall guitar work don’t stray far from the band’s signature (which was heavily influenced by him anyway), Blackfire’s energy and unique style make the album – and Sodom themselves – stronger than ever.
This can be easily detected from the first chords of “Sodom & Gomorrah”; the almost analogic production and the raw, harsh riffage intertwine with Tom’s characteristic brutality to form one of the best songs here. Tracks like “Nicht mehr mein Land” and “Dehumanized” make good use of this aggressiveness as well, with special attention to Blackfire’s pair Yorck Segatz and drummer Toni Merkel, who has worked with Frank Blackfire and knows his pace perfectly.
Traditional thrash moments are also present, with particular attention to the direct and simple, but awesome title-track, the killer “Glock ‘n’ Roll” and “Waldo & Pigpen”, reminiscing the late 90’s, early 2000’s moments like in ‘Code Red’ (1999) and ‘M-16’ (2001).
There is also the occasional modernized atmosphere, like in “The Harpooneer”, which actually adds a little bit of fresh air to the non-stop bulldozer that is Angelripper’s songwriting style. Being the longest track here, it offers a little bit of everything from death/thrash moments to more cadenced and prolific parts.
Allying Teutonic thrash characteristics to their signature aggressiveness has always been fruitful for Sodom. The German sodomizers keep their ideas organic and their hearts in the thrash underground, which makes for a final product that is at the same time true to its roots and fresh enough to stay relevant. The almost analog production, with little room for pompousness and useless modernities, works wonders with the raw and savage instrumental and songwriting.
Tom Angelripper is a genius. His creative productivity is almost endless, and his modus operandi is contagious enough to affect everyone in his surroundings, which makes Sodom a band nearly unbeatable. ‘Genesis XIX’ continues Sodom’s path to immortality by crushing everything in its path and delivering the goods like it was 1986 all over again. This is the best thrash metal album of the year so far, and it’s not even fair to the competition. All hail one of the best thrash bands of all time; all hail Sodom.